Hamad International Airport launches second phase of smart airport program

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Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) has launched the next phase of a program involving the digital transformation of the passenger journey through facial biometric recognition across all key passenger touchpoints.

The system, currently under trial, is a central element of the airport’s digital strategy and combines passengers’ flight, passport and facial biometric information in a single electronic record at the self-check-in kiosk or on a mobile app. Subsequently, only the passenger’s face is required for verification at the self-service bag drop, automated security gate, and the automated boarding gate, making the experience fast and seamless.

The first major phase of HIA’s smart airport program has been extremely popular, with up to 40% of home carrier Qatar Airways’ passengers preferring to self-check-in; and a further 20% opting for self-bag drop.

Engr Badr Mohammed Al Meer, chief operating officer at HIA, said, “In line with our vision and strategic plan, we continue to invest in customer-centric innovative technology to provide fast, seamless and enjoyable travel experience to be the airport of choice for our discerning customers.

“Our approach to identity management is unique and holistic, in that we foresee wide-scale deployment of biometric capability across both mandated and voluntary passenger touchpoints while addressing customer data privacy concerns in line with relevant local and international regulations.”

The smart airport program is helping optimize operational processes and the utilization of resources and assets at the airport. For example, the service delivery measurement system enables real-time monitoring of passenger wait times, thus enabling management to deploy additional resources when the wait time exceeds targets. The performance trends also help inform design decisions for future terminal capacity and passenger flow, a benefit to HIA as it begins the next phase of its expansion plan this year.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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